Guest Blogger: Allison Vandiepen
Allison's winner is: Davina! Congratulations to you. Send your contact information and I'll pass it along. Thanks to everyone who participated.
I grew up open-minded to most things paranormal. There seems to be a psychic gene in my family (which I haven’t inherited – and that’s fine with me). Several people I grew up with could speak of encountering ghosts, having premonitions and leaving their bodies. At a fairly young age, I had to decide for myself if these people were crazy, or if there might be a side to this world that wasn’t always visible to the naked eye.
The idea for RAVEN came when a psychic friend told me she’d seen a homeless person possessed by a spirit. She said that addiction can pierce holes in a person’s aura, leaving an addict vulnerable to the dark spirits that are out there. The idea fascinated me. And I wondered what would happen if there were beings who walked the earth preying upon people made so vulnerable by addiction that they couldn’t protect their own souls.
In doing research for RAVEN, I discovered the Chinese legend of the Jiang Shi, popularized by Hong Kong horror films of the 1980s. Jiang Shi are undead beings, sort of like vampires, who stay alive not by drinking blood, but by absorbing the souls of others. In RAVEN, the Jiang Shi prey upon the souls of addicts who have overdosed and are near death. They do not believe they are doing anything immoral. The Jiang Shi believe that the soul dissipates once it’s left the body, so there is no life after death.
The heroine of RAVEN, Nicole, finds herself falling for a sexy Arab breakdancer named Zin. She’s madly in love with him before she realizes what he really is – a Jiang Shi. The worst part is, her own brother is a meth addict. She’s terrified that he could become the victim of one of Zin’s kind. Nicole has fallen in love with a man who represents her greatest fear – the loss of her brother’s soul.
In many paranormal romances, a woman’s greatest fear and greatest love are found in the same person. I think that dichotomy is one of the things that attracts me to the genre. What is it about paranormal romance that attracts you?